Rotorua and Waitomo Caves, New Zealand.
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Volcanic activity gave birth to the islands of New Zealand only a few million years ago. This fiery beginning is evidenced today by landscapes of volcanic cones and geothermal springs. This photo tour explores a beautiful stretch to the south of Auckland - Rotorua to Waitomo.
Rotorua, a few hours drive from Auckland or Wellington, is small lakeside town surrounded by geothermal activity. Visitors enjoy the lakes, the hot springs, the spas, the geysers, and Maori culture. The stench of sulphur is all around as gases bubble from hot mud pools. Health and beauty treatments abound!
Waitomo, west of Rotorua, is tiny farming town, now providing services to the thousands who visit each year to see the amazing Waitomo caves. Various cave systems stretch for hundreds of kilometers below ground, offering all manner of caving experiences.
Many choose to glide peacefully along the grand labyrinths by boat, admiring the glow worms that dot the roof like stars. Others choose 'tubing', and are whisked along a fast flowing river in a truck inner tube! Those trying to overcome a fear of heights, such as your authors, are attracted by a 100 meter abseil into "The Lost World"...
From Auckland, Rotorua and Waitomo are a few hours drive south, past Hamilton. Rotorua is south-east of Hamilton, Waitomo south-west.
Several operators offer single and multi-day tours from Auckland and Wellington.
The area is well sign-posted and easy to find by car.
Rotorua offers all levels of accommodation. Waitomo has budget and medium-priced lodging.
Also of interest:
Aside from the natural beauty featured in this article, visitors can also experience Maori culture. The Polynesian Maori settled New Zealand before the Europeans and are renowned for their decorative art and customs. Shows, museums, and displays are all on offer in Rotorua. If traveling independently, make Rotorua's tourist information center your first stop.
Thrill seekers may want to try 'The Luge' in Rotorua. A cable car takes you to the top of a hill. A plastic tray with wheels takes you down at high-speed. It's great fun, that's all we're saying!
Fodor's Exploring New Zealand
The Rough Guide to New Zealand
Lonely Planet New Zealand
Comprehensive listing of Rotorua's attractions.
Waitomo Adventures Ltd.
Cave tours with friendly guides.
Museum and partially restored village chronicling 1886 eruption.
The Luge and the restaurant with the best view in Rotorua.
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